Happy New Month!

Hello August | via Tumblr on We Heart It.. Summer will soon end and once gain fall comes calling with it's crisp air and burnished leaves of gold.  TG:

Happy Monday everyone.  Today not only ushers in a new week, but a new month.  There is something magical about new beginnings.  A chance to start over, a time to make goals.  January 1st everyone is so set about what the new year will bring them.  I am not that excited about new years, I prefer to look at new weeks!  Making small, manageable goals ladders up to something phenomenal in one year.  Think about it.  If you made a point to make a small change every Monday- imagine what 52 Mondays of change look like!
Last week I was so happy I hit every one of my workout goals.  Sometimes it isn’t always possible and I see there are obstacles already popping up this week.  Preparation is key to success.
Back to goal setting for the week and month ahead.  Sit down with yourself and come up with 4 things you want to focus on this month.  Then actually write them down!  Pick one a week to really focus on, then the next week try to do 2, then 3, then 4.   For example, they may be things like:
– Drink 1/2 my weight in water every day (this one is my downfall)
– Log my food this week
– Bring my lunch instead of buying it
– Eat breakfast every day
– Eat fruits and vegetables every day
-Try a new recipe/new food this week
– Exercise 2,3,5,7 x this week (you choose!)
– Incorporate strength training into my week (especially if you favor cardio)
– Incorporate cardio into my week (especially if you favor lifting)
– Incorporate stretching into my week
– Give a compliment to a stranger every day this week
– Do something nice to someone without being asked (or thanked or expecting something in return)
New month, new beginning! Make a change and Sign Up for the Skinny Ms. newsletter! Never miss out on fitness tips or healthy recipes from Skinny Ms. #cleaneating #fitness #weightloss:
I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish!
Share with me, comment here:   What are 2 things you are going to focus on this month?
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5 Things that Hold us Back from Happiness

For anyone who knows me, my number 1 pet peeve is excuses.  Not just excuses about exercise, but excuses in life.   I have always had goals for myself and when I see something I want, I ask myself- “how did that person get there?”  Then I make a plan and set it in motion.  You can achieve anything you set your mind to with determination, consistency, and a solid plan in place.

I think reading helped me keep that spirit and “can do” attitude alive.  Since I was little I loved self-help books like SARK Eat Mangos Naked (a favorite in high school).  Then, as I got older I found other books like “The Compound Effect,” “You are a Badass” and “Crush it.”  It never hurts to keep learning.

On this continual quest for knowledge and empowerment, I was introduced to a podcast called “The Model Health Show.”  A podcast I listened to struck such a cord with me, I decided to listen again and take notes.   99% of this blog post is courtesy of Shawn Stevenson’s Podcast from June 14, 2016- “5 Things that Hold Us Back from Happiness”  with my own little quips inserted here and there.

In Shawn’s podcast he notes a study from the University of London that states people are 35% less likely to die if they felt happy and content on a typical day.  Generally we are happy as children, then happy again as seniors but it is those in between years of the rat race that really wear us down.   I can totally see that!  Being a working mom with 2 kids, training for races, helping others, and trying to keep my family happy is no easy feat.

So, what holds us back from happiness and how can we turn it around?  Here are his top 5 reasons (in no particular order)

1. Excuses.

This is probably why I loved this podcast so much.   Our primary excuses are usually work, money, and health.  Things are always so much harder when life isn’t going your way.   Tony Robbins said we all have a blueprint set for our lives.  For example, maybe your blueprint is you wanted to get a job, get married, & have kids before 30.   How would you feel if your blue print did not match your life condition?  What if you were 31 and single or unemployed?    It isn’t a horrible thing, but since your blueprint does not equal your life condition you may feel unhappy.   You have to be mentally aware of this and re-adjust your blueprint.  Maybe because you are single and unemployed you can travel the world and paint or volunteer for the Peace Corps?  The world is open and you are unencumbered.  Change your perspective and make the most of the life you have.

2.  The if/then syndrome:

If this happens, then I’d be happy.  If I get this raise, then I’ll be happy.  If the kids get into college, then I’ll be happy.  If I got this beach house, then I’ll be happy.  If I got this divorce, then I’ll be happy… This is what Jim Rohn calls living on “someday I’ll”.   We can’t wish our life away.   Live in gratitude.  What do you have now?  Sure, you can have ambition and work towards something but we need to enjoy the journey!

3.  Skip the Drama!

I never thought about this really before, but I absolutely love it.  Don’t bring the drama around you, don’t look for it, and don’t live into it.   *To do something for someone else, WITHOUT expecting anything in return is the secret to long lasting happiness*.  Oh My Goodness YES.   There is nothing worse than having to keep score, make sure everything is fair, and decide when to be nice to someone else based on how they have treated you in the past.  I am a HUGE believer that if I choose to care about someone, I will be there for them.  I will buy them birthday gifts; I will go to their events… I will be there for them whether they make the same effort for me or not.  I don’t measure my kindness or my happiness by how others treat me, but how I treat others.   Nit picking and living into the drama does not do me any good.  Maybe this is because I believe everyone is genuinely good at heart and everyone’s intentions are pure.  Even if that isn’t the case.  It makes me happy and I don’t want to turn into a cynic.

4.  Future/Past Paradox

Do you mentally visit the past to predict the future? It is a blessing and a curse to think externally.  People think past = future.  We need to see the beauty in our current situation.  If you still live in the past, you miss the power to change your future.    A challenge for you is to change your perspective and CHOOSE to show up differently.  Bring YOUR energy and happiness to the situation.  When you walk into a room brighten that room.  YOU bring the LIGHT.  Living in gratitude is a reflection of the good things that are happening at the current moment.  On a side note, I am LOVING the Instagram challenge #100happydays.  It is forcing me to find the beauty in every day.  Today it was eating a juicy peach.

5.  BELIEF THAT YOU DESERVE IT!

I am amazed at this one.  I remember watching “the Biggest Loser” last season and a speech Bob Harper gave to one of the contestants.  They were having a heart to heart and her biggest roadblock was her deep rooted belief that she didn’t deserve to be fit, to take the time for herself, to win etc.  Once she changed her mind set and told herself that she was worthy and she did deserve it, she started kicking butt!    Realize how much you do matter.  Enjoy the process, and overcome whatever challenges come your way.  You have everything you need to live a good life within you, they just may be dormant.  No one is better than you, but people may be different than you.  Be 100% unapologetic for who you are.  Like Sarah Jessica Parker was told in the movie “The Family Stone”  Let your freak flag fly!  No one will ever exist like you again and no one was like you before, so be the utmost you.

I just loved all this so much and it is great to be reminded again and again of these important points.  Now lastly, being happy doesn’t mean being stagnant.  You can have goals and be ambitious.  Heck, you should!!!  But, enjoy the process.  You deserve to be happy if you choose to be, and if you need to make some life changes, make them.

Have a great Monday.

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Motivation Monday- Finding your why

I’m pretty sure I wrote this before, but it bears repeating.  The VERY first thing I ask anyone interested in starting any health journey is “why.”  Why do you want to lose weight?   Sure, looking great in your clothes and fitting into those jean from high school is nice, but that won’t keep you on track.  Cupcakes and alcohol are way too good.

21X_Wk2_Day7_image

Most people know my story (and if you don’t you can check it out in about me section), but my why is making sure I am taking care of me so that I can have more energy and patience for my family.   I have 2 toddlers, I also work full time as a scientist.  I know that when I indulge too much and don’t exercise I am just a nasty person and my family gets the brunt of it.  I feel tired, bloated, sluggish and screaming toddlers make me lose my sh*t.

What also keeps me motivated is having other people help keep me accountable or incentives.  This week I have a private facebook group going.  We are all going to post every day something we are doing to stay healthy, whether that be a workout or a healthy meal.  At the end of the week I am raffling off a prize to a randomly selected winner.  The only rule to be entered into the raffle is to post something in our group daily.  If you need some extra accountability and want to meet some like minded people,  I would be happy to add you too 🙂

today is the day

I urge you this week to sit down with yourself, grab a piece of paper, a journal, a napkin, anything and be honest with yourself.  Why do you need to stay on track this week?  Maybe there is a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes in your family and you need to lose weight to stay healthy, maybe you need some extra patience for your kids, maybe you have a stressful week coming up and a few good sweat sessions will help make you feel better.  Endorphins are a powerful thing.

goal

Let me know your why in the comments below.  I believe in you.

Fact Friday- All about the Heart, remembering Opa

Today I was going to continue to talk about macros and break them down into the 3 components, but I am going to switch it up and talk about the heart today.

Yesterday, my grandfather Adolf passed away.  He suffered from Congestive Heart Failure.  Remembering Opa on the blog today.

Opa was the very definition of a German man.  Growing up in his household must not have been easy.  He was strong, opinionated, & stubborn.   I share so many of his traits (good or bad).   When we were little the main things I remember are how he always sat in his reclining chair in the corner of the room with this little light.  He enjoyed watching soccer and WWF.  So funny to think back on that now.  His wife, my Oma, was the most loving woman I have ever known.  I can still remember the way her skin felt and they way she smelled.  Opa used to tease her that she had wooden teeth and she would always respond by yelling “Oh Ady!”   Opa would sit in his reclining chair and try to trip my brother and I every time we ran by.  Then he would grab us and squeeze us tight until we were laughing so hard.   Other than those little moments, it was really Oma who played with us when we were little.  She passed in 1998 and Opa changed so much since then.  He became much softer and I am glad that my cousins only got to know that Opa.  They are about 13 years younger than me.   Since her passing it was fun getting to know him as an adult.  He is most remembered for singing Ein Prosit at my wedding (and EVERY social gathering), and telling the story of how you need to hold a shot glass with your thumb and pinkie finger because German’s hands are stuck in that position from always holding beer steins.  All our adult friends loved his drinking songs and his rousing Zicke, zacke,   zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi and Prost!  A little history can be found here.  

 

Opa suffered from congestive heart failure (which my maternal grandmother also has).    So, in his honor my fact friday is going to be about heart health.    Our heart is our most vital organ.  It pumps blood through our bodies.  One of my favorite ways to learn recently has been reading to my daughter.  She got this book as a gift and it gives a wonderful explanation for what our blood does.

Blood helps your body fight germs that might make you sick, but it also carries all kinds of things around your whole body, so you need a lot of it!  Blood can’t move itself around your body, it relies on your heart to do that!   Your heart is a muscle, and when it squeezes it pushes the blood along the vessels.    Blood is a bit like shopping.  It carries things along, and swaps and collects things as it travels.   Blood swaps used air for fresh air when it goes to the lungs.  Blood collects food when it goes near the intestines then carries it to the other parts of your body that needs it.   The right side of your heart receives blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side of the heart does the exact opposite: It receives blood from the lungs and pumps it out to the body.

A lot of things can affect your heart health and knowing what you can do to stay healthy is important.   The American Heart Association recommends that you be aware of five key numbers:Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI).  There is a WONDERFUL resource at http://www.heart.org

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with heart failure, it can be frightening.

 

For those of us who are healthy, let’s stay that way by focusing in these 7 simple steps:

    1.  MANAGE BLOOD PRESSURE:  High Blood Pressure is a major risk factor for Heart Disease and Stroke. When your Blood Pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys, which keeps you healthier longer.
    2. CONTROL CHOLESTEROL:  High Cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog Arteries and lead to Heart Disease and Stroke. When you control your Cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.

    3. REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR: Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high levels of Blood Sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

    4. GET ACTIVE: Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love. Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.

    5. EAT BETTER: A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting Cardiovascular Disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you improve your chances for feeling good and staying healthy – for life!
    6. LOSE WEIGHT:  When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. You give yourself the gift of active living, you lower your Blood Pressure and you help yourself feel better, too.
    7. STOP SMOKING: Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.

Now let’s use that glorious muscle to share some love!

This would be an awesome tattoo with one half my husband's fingerprint and the other half mine:

Resources:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Conditions_UCM_001087_SubHomePage.jsp

https://www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-numbers/

Call to Action- Let’s Get Fit For Summer

With the warm weather upon us, we are reminded that summer is coming. I for one am so excited to do more outdoors. I just wish I didn’t have to cook dinner when I come home! Looks like I’ll be making more on the grill.

That being said, what I also love about this time of year is how committed people are to their health and fitness goals.

What are you doing to get fit? Is it working? Are you open to something NEW?

Last year, I started helping people achieve their health and fitness goals, and it has been the most rewarding experience.  A few highlights include

  • A mom who was on the verge of tears daily who is now content and enjoying her kids childhood
  • SEVERAL running PRs (2 5Ks improved by 4 minutes and a half marathon by 20)
  • 30 lb weight loss
  • A few women who were able to advance their yoga practice (hello headstand)
  • New friends made by all

I am looking for women, specifically working moms with little time on their hands. People who aren’t the best cooks and need quick and easy kid friendly recipes. Women who rarely take the time to take care of themselves and always put everyone else first. Women who are exhausted and just don’t know how they could possibly even find time to exercise. Women who have a gym membership, but never go. Women who are living on coffee for breakfast or their go to cereal they have been having since their college days. Women who used to have time to train for races before they had kids but now running takes too long.

I’m looking for you, because last year I was you! 30 minute workouts, easy food, and most of all SUPPORT have changed my life.

I’m not saying I can change your life, but you can. The power is in your hands and I have had the pleasure to connect with so many women this year, women who were hanging on my a thread and now just feel good.

MAY 1st is the start date. Send me a message and we’ll work together to find something that will work for your unique situation and preferences.

We are going to have an awesome summer, you ready to join us?

Jessica Heidi's photo.

Fact Friday- Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Don’t be scared of the word “fat.”  Fat is essential in our diet for our cells to function properly in our bodies.

I am going to throw some serious science at you guys today!  As always my takeaway message is eat in moderation.  Here try to eat foods high in Omega 3s (list below) and try to minimize Omega 6 rich foods (processed foods, certain oils etc)

What is the Difference?

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are a chemical class called fatty acids.  The # corresponds to which carbon has the first double bond (Start counting from the right, and each point is a carbon)

Omega fatty acids UK

Your body does not produce Omega-3 fatty acids, so you need to obtain them from your diet.  Two crucial ones — EPA and DHA — are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis.

How do they do this?  They set off signals in our bodies to reduce INFLAMMATION.

Omega-3s curb inflammation in the blood vessels (and the rest of your body), this especially helps your heart.  At high doses they also make abnormal heart rhythms less likely and lower your level of blood fats called triglycerides. Finally, they can slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.

Omega 6 vs Omega 3

This may seem like a scary crazy image- but the takeaway message here is Omega 3s set off your metabolic pathway to release anti-inflammatories in your body.  How cool is that?!

Where to Get Omega 3s

When possible, try to get omega-3 fatty acids from foods. Aim to eat fish high in DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids two to three times a week.

These include:

  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
  • Sardines
  • Sturgeon
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna

Good food sources of ALA are:

  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil

While foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have health benefits, some — like oils and nuts — can be high in calories. So eat them in moderation.

 

So I threw a lot of complicated stuff at you-  takeaway message….  Live in moderation.  Try to eat foods high in Omega 3s and minimize your intake of processed foods and oils.

Happy Friday!

Any requests?

Don’t Skip the Stretching!

I got a wonderful email today from my health care provider (Aetna) and there were so many great little nuggets of information I am going to dedicate a blog post to each one.

Stretching… don’t lie, I know when the video is over and there are 3 minutes left of stretching, you turn the video off and go put in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher.  Don’t!  Stretching is just as important as the workout both to warm up your muscles and cool them down.  This prevents injury.

Experts say the best way to do this is to go at a slower pace for 5 to 10 minutes. So if you’re jogging, you should walk for a few minutes to warm up. And then again to cool down.

Stretching’s important, but bouncing is for balls
While stretching is important to remain flexible, if you don’t do it right, you risk injury. You should stretch your muscles a couple times a week.  Hello yoga!

yogakids

Avoid the following:

  • Stretching cold muscles
  • Holding a stretch for more than 15 seconds
  • Bouncing (don’t do that)

Other ways to avoid injury include using the proper equipment. And having the proper form. No matter what the exercise warriors on television advise, don’t overdo it. If you push yourself too hard, you could go from warrior to war torn.

For more on how to avoid injury from exercise, visit the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus website.

Find your strong

I could start this with “beach weather is around the corner… Blah blah blah.” No.   Strong is not always about your body.

This NOT about looking good in a bathing suit.


This week has been really horrible. Social media always makes it seem like life is sunshine and rosy all the time. That everyone is doing everything and they’ve got their sh%# together and everyone is all smiles.

So not the case. No one wanted to wake up this week, I was a horrible mom and yelled most mornings, no screamed. I got to work stressed out, I missed 70% of my workouts, I picked the kids up late every day, I think they got a bath twice.

My current exercise group had an amazing week though, they felt stronger, more empowered, lost weight, got more done at work, had patience for their families. I just was not my best self.

We made up for it with ice cream Friday and some Saturday workouts.

The eternal debate… Hard or soft ice cream. Hard coffee ice cream is my weakness!

Felt better after sweating on Saturday.  Don’t have a weight bench for decline push-ups? Use the stairs!


Anyway, I am reaching out if you want help reclaiming your inner self. I need YOU to keep me accountable. I will be expanding April 4th and participating in #summerstrong with my coach.

I am going to share what I learn with you. I’ll recommend a workout you enjoy (from boot camp, cardio, weights to yoga/Pilates), I’ll provide motivation, support, a meal plan and friendship.

I have high interest already so comment below if you want in. I’m accepting 10 new clients only. We’ll chat and I’ll give more details.

Just visualize yourself 30, 60, 90 days from now. Where do you see yourself?   A faster runner?   Getting into that yoga headstand, or maybe succeeding at work, or having more patience for your family.   Let’s get you there.   It’s worked for me every time, now I want to share the feeling with you.

Nutrition, Exercise, Support…Success

Reclaim your strong.  Regain your happy.

Practice Patience

It all started this morning, bright and early at 5:30 am when I went in our basement to get in my daily workout and found a flooded basement.

  
We spent 2 hours pumping the water out and it just kept coming!  Where was this water coming from?    I decided to work from home to bail the water out every hour or so and James went to take a shower… no hot water.

Our water heater was done.  It was leaking water everywhere!   A few calls and lucky we got someone in to replace it today.  Owning a house really is a money pit.

It took the gentleman 3ish hours to pump out the old one and install the new one.  He said it was so old and rusted that when he unscrewed the connector the piece disintegrated in his hand!    I didn’t really believe him until I went downstairs and saw the rust particulates everywhere.  What a mess!   That took me another 2 hours to clean up and put everything back all the while managing conference calls and actually getting work done!

   

  

Even though it was not a pleasant experience, I am proud of how we handled it.  In the past when things like that would happen we would B* and moan and yell, but that doesn’t accomplish much.  Although we were extremely upset and frustrated, I am glad we didn’t let it ruin our day completely.   On a positive note, I got an enormous amount of work done because I could sit in silence and just work with no interruptions.  Another bonus, I got work done in my pajamas all day since we didn’t have any hot water!  Plus number 3, our basement is back to normal and so clean!  Ready for my workout tomorrow!

  
   I am happy with our new water heater, it is quieter and takes up less space too.  I wonder what will break next.  We thought it would have been the furnace!
After dinner the kids had some cuddle time with daddy.  Finding Nemo was on.  It’s a classic!  

  
I found this article really insightful about How to Practice Patience in Stressful Times.

Check it out.  Here are some of my favorite parts…

Patience is really made up of three aspects. One is persistence. That’s the capacity to keep on going even though you can’t yet see the end result. It’s what keeps us moving toward our goal and thus helps us make our dreams come true. Two is acceptance. Accepting that whatever is happening right now is the way it is. The third is a sense of peacefulness or serenity or calmness in the face of what is. 

Why is patience important?

To understand that, we need to look at the other side and ask, “What is impatience?” Impatience is on the anger continuum. First you have irritation, then impatience and then anger and, at the far end, rage. So, besides helping us reach goals, what is important about patience is that it keeps our anger turned off.

What do we gain by being patient?

Ultimately, patience allows us to act more mindfully and wisely. You get peace of mind when things are challenging, and you also have better relationships with other people — parents, kids, co-workers, spouse. Lord knows, patience is a quality we most need for high-functioning relationships. It allows us to hang in there and keep going, whether with a person or with a process, or in a business.

That’s some good stuff right there.
What was the last appliance you had to replace?  Was it a catastrophe?

What’s your favorite Disney movie? 

How do you practice patience?